Hi All -
Finished seasoning my 22.5 WSM yesterday. New to smoking and figured I'd go straight for the challenge and do a brisket today. Only had access to a 1st cut for this round, just under 4 lbs. Seasoned with a coating of yellow mustard and the rub recipe at Smoker King (http://www.thesmokerking.com/page6d.html) overnight for ~15hours. A bit of a late start this morning, so smoker was up and running by 10:30am and brisket on at 11:11AM.
Found it very easy to dial in and keep consistent heat - 248 to 250 the entire smoke. Used a mix of hickory and mesquite and set up using Harry Soo's donut method. Placed an aluminum pan with a dark beer underneath to catch the drippings.
Sure enough, everything everybody on the board talks about comes true! After about two hours, I hit 158 and stalled at that temp for what seemed like more than an hour! Once at 160, I put the pan w/beer on the top rack, placed the brisket inside and covered tightly with foil. Took probably another hour to 180 and I thought I was golden at that point. Wanting to crisp the bark a bit, I pulled it from the pan and placed back on the rack, and that's when the temp started to decline. Pit stayed at 250, but meat slowly dropped down to 174. I scoured and read and everyone seemed to suggest to just leave it alone! So, in the meantime I reduced the pan drippings into a great sauce and waited. The meat stayed at 174 so I finally wrapped lightly in foil and waited. And waited. And then it started to take off again. And after probably another hour I hit 190 at 4:40 (total of about 5.5 hours). To be sure it was a true 190, I waited until 191 and then double wrapped in heavy duty aluminum foil, two towels and then threw it in the cooler. The temp never increased from there, just slowly decreased. I then opened the vents on the pit a bit and put the chicken on. Oh - btw - before the wrapping I did the probe test, which was like butter through the thinner part and required a bit of a push through the thicker part.
Chicken took about an hour to get to 130 and then in the interest of a hungry family I moved it over the OTG that was cooking some sweet peppers. Finished the chicken up in about 10 mins.
And then I sliced the brisket (against the grain). First bite was really tasty, albeit a tiny bit tougher than I would have liked. I had a small smoke ring but in the future I think I'll use more wood at more regular intervals to improve this. Served the brisket with the reduced (and defatted) drippings on ciabattta roles with the sweet peppers. Everybody enjoyed it. Taste was delicious, but I'm a bit picky and of course would have liked it to be more tender and with more bark. That's what the next attempt is for :) The chicken came out perfect. Just the right amount of smoke and finished at 165. Always loved to cook chicken on the OTG, but the first hour on the WSM really made it special!
All in all a success for the maiden voyage . . . here's to even better results next time! Any pointers or advice (including different rubs) are welcomed!
Couple of pics - but it seems I forgot to take end result pictures while going mad over the temperature stall! The brisket on the rack is about two hours into the process.